Conley Art Gallery
Spring 2015 Schedule
Gallery Hours: Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm
2015 Artist Invitational, Water in Crisis
(Click on names for Bios)
January 29 - February 27th
Reception 5 - 8 p.m. on January 29th
Artist Lectures 6 - 8 p.m. January 28th and from 3 - 5 p.m. on January 29th
In Conley Arts 101
The 2015 Artist Invitational Exhibition, Water in Crisis, presents the works of four major artists, Robert Dawson, Newton and Helen Harrison, and Isabelle Hayeur, who offer unique visual strategies for engagement with issues of water in our times. These artists approach water from a wide range of perspectives, including aesthetic, cultural, economic, and environmental.
The artists in this exhibition exemplify some of the newer forms of artistic research and artistic practice. They employ a broad range of methodologies, from intensive field research to the development of engaging texts and experimentation with emerging visual technologies. Their work is related to their communities, beginning with dialogue with experts in the fields they are researching. The works they create are not only visual representations, but opportunities for viewers to become part of a community of inquiry on significant issues.
Robert Dawson’s work explores the range of humanity’s relationship to water, from sustenance to recreation, from crises of floods to crises of droughts. Newton and Helen Harrison have devoted a long and distinguished career to conducting research on the broad ecological context of water in the West and globally, from the snowpack of the Sierras to the changing tidal wetlands and estuaries of the San Francisco Bay and Delta. Isabelle Hayeur has looked intensively at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and at issues of toxicity in the waterways of the Eastern United States and Canada.
Visual art has the unique ability to give a direct, sensual evocation of the subjects it treats. Each of these installation artists, photographers and video artists invents means to convey the physicality of water and its surrounding landscape. They evoke the relationship of water to the ecosystem and to human cultures and societies. They engage us with the physical traces of the crises that people face in relation to water, crises that are urgently omnipresent in our times. In November, 2014, the drought in California was in its third year. The water table was dropping, and many wells were being lowered. Four hundred homes in Porterville were without water. News reports documented the land dropping near Los Banos. The median level of lakes and reservoirs in the central valley and surrounding Sierra region was 12%. Snowpacks had been decreasing for several years, the elevation of the snowpack had been rising, and with it numerous plant and animal species were threatened. Water left in rivers to restore ecosystems continued to be a center of debate between farmers, fisherman, and scientists.
The Phebe Conley Gallery, located in the Conley Art Building, provides critical exhibition space for Art and Design Department students to prepare for a professional career, provides actual installation experiences, and connects the students with the community by providing four large student exhibitions each year and multiple Masters Degree Student Exhibitions.